COMIC BOOK REVIEW - Red Hood And The Outlaws: Death Of The Family
By The Masked Medic
I’ll admit that the last few novels that I’ve read have left me a little underwhelmed and when that happens I know exactly what to do. Return to my roots. Which naturally means a return to Gotham City. I had already read 3 of the tie-ins of the ‘Death Of The Family’ storyline and thought it was time to see what the Joker had in store for Jason Todd, aka Red Hood and his team of Outlaws!
‘Death Of The Family’ starts with an origin story for Jason Todd. It shows how he grew up in a dysfunctional home and how he was eventually taken in by Batman. It also delves into his death and rebirth as ‘Red Hood’. The issue finishes, however, with a little interlude by The Joker who tells us that everything that happened to Jason before his death was also a result of Joker’s actions. Pretty interesting stuff. We then cut to present day where Jason has been found in Isabel’s room with the GCPD ready to arrest him. He escapes their clutches but is quickly kidnapped by Joker. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Starfire learn that Jason is in trouble and make their way to Gotham City to rescue their fearless leader. There they bump into the Teen Titans and the two groups find that they have to work together in order to help a number of the homeless Gotham citizens who have been ‘Jokerized’. Arsenal steps up and despite their initial scepticism, the Teen Titans follow his orders and are able to reverse the effects of the poison. Side mission completed, both teams continue the search for their missing teammates. Jason wakes up in a locked room with Red Robin, aka, Tim Drake. The Joker pits the two against each other but being ex-Robins and more importantly, family, they work together to take the Joker down, or so they think. The Joker remains one step ahead of them at all times and gasses them. They wake, along with the rest of the Bat-Family to a gruesome scene. Their faces have been bandaged up and in front of them are dishes which contain the skin from their faces. Batman intercedes and whilst he goes after the Joker, the rest of the family fight the effects of the Joker Gas. The epilogue of the novel sees Jason’s helmet being poisoned and him enter a sort of dreamscape whilst Batman attempts to save his life. Can Bruce find an antidote before it’s too late? And just where did the Joker disappear to in the end?
See? Sometimes that’s what my comic book loving soul needs. Just a bit of depressing Gotham and the crazies who live in it. Despite there being a lot of common issues between this tie-in and the one for the ’Teen Titans’ series, I still found myself really enjoying the story. Jason is a complex character and I think in the last few years DC has really upped the ante in terms of character development so he’s not just an angsty ex-Robin anymore. I think the twist to the origin story was great, and if you think about it, if that was the case then who’s to say that the Joker doesn’t know who the whole Bat-Family are under the masks? I think the only thing I’d have to say in the way of criticism is that naturally the story is very Red Hood heavy and there are also two other members of this team. I hope that the series can develop their stories too so we can learn about them.
The artwork was pretty good for the most part. I did miss Kenneth Rocafort’s art a lot but I got to see a bit of Brett Booth’s art and that was certainly worth it. The covers were excellent and it was tough picking which one I wanted to use, but this one above just summaries the novel perfectly! Overall, a really good entry in what is a really good series so far! I very much hope it continues like this!
Ngl, I love their relationship sometimes!
Has to be Jason. This series highlights why he’s such an epic character!
Story Arc: ★★★½
Character Development: ★★★½